Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: The Vegetable Wars Guys

Welcome back kiddies. I have lured the Vegetable Wars guys, and a zombie cow, into the depths to pick their brains about their horrifyingly awesome comic. So sit back and relax we find out why we should all be reading The Vegetable Wars.

Decapitated Dan: Hey guys! Thanks for taking time to talk with me about Vegetable Wars .

Peter Caton: Greetings and salutations. I want everyone to know that the answers for this interview have been compiled with the cooperation of The Evils of the Unknown, who graciously allowed Greg to transmit a single response from the stomach of a zombie cow. The rest of the interview was completed by the single-source of evil which binds Greg to the flesh eating cow, his partner in crime and co-creator of The Vegetable Wars.

DD: Well now don't we feel lucky! So first of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

PC: DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER! This sort of question sets of all sorts of alarms as both Greg and I are overly cautious about our alter egos, or secret civilian identities. I will say that presently, we are both spirits in the material world. That is, we both have jobs outside the realm of comics, and we can be found somewhere in the vast unknown of technology. Whoa! Even that is a bit too revealing for us, as we do strive to protect our secret identities. We just have too many enemies that could hurt us and our families, those we love.... okay, honestly, there isn't much to tell about our personal lives. So we prefer to let our creations do the talking for us.

DD: How did you find yourselves getting into making comics?

For us, comics offer a great medium in which to fuel our creative energies. We've always loved the combination of words and art. Seeing pictures, feeling the words. Comics offer so much to readers, so it is a perfect environment for us to nurture our artistic souls.

DD: So what can you tell me about Vegetable Wars?

PC: The Wars is a confluence of many ideas, genres, and influences. We have created a world that is both entertaining and topical. The fusion of different ideas, from B-movies, to epic poetry which help dictate the overall tone of the Wars.

DD: What's it all about?

PC: The Vegetable Wars is but one chapter in the long history of Town. Town, being the place, the city, the geographic area where all the strange events take place. The chapter known as The Vegetable Wars picks up on a dark and stormy night where the evil madman, Mad Scientist, brews a mysterious formula using the power of X. With this formula, Mad Scientist creates a vegetable army that he intends to use for world domination. Past decisions, present mistakes all collide as the dangerous future unfolds. Where the story will end, no one knows. And thus the tale begins, of The Vegetable Wars....

DD: Who are the main characters?

The Wars boil down to a struggle between good and evil. The principle characters are therefore, Mad Scientist and the General. Both of who represent the two polarities of ultimate badness and holy goodness, respectively. Along the way, readers will encounter new villains, new heroes, that support the two main rivals in this epic story.

DD: Building on the previous question. Why did you choose to go with, this is not meant as an insult, such simple names for the cast and location?

PC: The Wars often pays homage to silly B-movie horror and science fiction. As Town rose from the flames of creation, it seemed apropos to continue in the same vein of naming characters in silly or often ridiculous ways. As for reasons behind Town's mad scientist being eponymously named, there will be more exploration to the origin of his name in our new graphic novel, The Origin of Madness, coming out in late summer.

DD: Where did this idea come from?

PC: The idea of the Wars came to me in high school while sitting in study hall. A good friend of mine had just moved a couple States away. There was no Internet in these days, heck, there were only Commodore 64's and ~ 2400 BAUD modems in a scattered few American homes. So the only way to realistically stay in touch was by snail mail. As a way to keep the letters interesting, I invented the Vegetable Wars. The idea of mutant vegetables taking over the world was just so appealing. Killer carrots. Marauding potatoes. Staunch and steady tomatoes. What else could one ask for? And watching the vegetables battle endlessly helped dampen some of the monotony of any given day. Back then, I'd just draw battle scenes. Sort of a Spy vs. Spy style, where one side would triumph in one drawing, and the other side would triumph in another. As the Wars expanded with Greg's vision, the story itself evolved. Town emerged, the Narrators, the General, Odysseus Amadeus, Diomedes Zen and other characters of the like were born. Town's history grew, and so did the story of The Vegetable Wars driven on by Greg's artistic direction, and by the muse of a narrator's fiction.

DD: If you were to give this book a movie style rating (G, PG, PG-13, R, X) what would it get, and why would you say that?

PC: We give The Vegetable Wars an "X" rating for sure..... if you know the story, then you'll understand this answer and probably have a laugh. For those unfamiliar with the Wars, then I definitely should clarify that the X rating does not indicate that there is any pornographic content whatsoever in the Wars. So parents, no need to hide your children from the Wars. The Wars has violence, not sex and it is geared more for teens and adults. So I should say that if you are unfamiliar with the Wars altogether, then consider it a PG-13 type of experience. You'll understand the X rating reference more when you start reading our stuff. Briefly, the X-rating is about intrigue and mystery, the power of the unknown, all of which is explored in the vast world of the Wars.

DD: For those of you who have read the books that is an awesome answer! So what are you hoping readers can take away from this story?

PC: Entertainment. The Wars was designed to entertain our readers. The stories are layered, and there is a lot to take away from a story after one is done reading it.

DD: Greg, lets talk about the art. What initially drew me to the the story was the seeing this Bad Ass Tomato staring over the edge of a cliff. So what went into coming up with the look for the sinister vegetables?

Greg's answer is now being transmitted via a stomach of a Zombie Cow:
Can, can you hear me? We’re good? Okay, well, I initially started scribbling with a crayon, concentrating on a mix between V8 juice and AK-47's, and of course- turtle wax.

Seriously, though- after discussing the idea(s) behind the Wars with Peter, I started noodling out the various character sketches- all the while trying to keep the designs unique and exciting as possible. I had this vision of (pumpkins originally, I believe, later assigned to the tomatoes) these terrifying organic mutant-monsters springing over a hill towards their unsuspecting victims, their vines bouncing and stretching all over the place.

Since vegetables don't have claws or teeth, the only 'weapon' they could really have would be their vines/thorns, and even that's not too scary- unless these vines could help propel them, and perhaps also be stretched like tentacles or spider-webbing weapons at times. Unarmed, they needed something that would still make them look a bit menacing..the vines actually could be whips, nooses, ropes, you name it, they fit the bill.

So, since any vegetable-type characters I'd seen previously always had arms and legs extending from their 'bodies', I thought inverting them and using their vines as spring-like 'legs' would be different as well as useful.

Initially I had the arms constructed from vines too (or roots). Now, Onion and Celery, for example, have nothing but roots. Potatoes and carrots have the old-fashioned arms and legs though. They don't usually have a lot of vines to speak of, so they went the 'normal' route of legs and arms as body-extensions, and the carrots needed their hair due to the fact that they are afflicted with perpetual vanity.

One great part of drawing these guys is their flexibility. They are mutants, so one never looks exactly like another - some have more arms (or eyes or legs), some less, etc.

I have to say, the Wars and all of the Town-related stories are great to draw. Every type of monster or creature imaginable has either lived or lurked there at one time or another. Peter's stories keep expanding into new avenues, and that's great; not only for the readers but for myself- I don't get a chance to become bored of drawing the same characters over and over again.

Well, the zombie cow’s stomach is rumbling… I’d better turn the interview back to Peter before the digestive juices eat away my vocal cords away….

DD: Peter, when it comes to the way the story is told, I think you take a very unique approach. You seem to have a great grasp of the narrator (no relation to the actual character) style. Why go in this direction?

While searching for the voice of Town, I discovered the character of John Narrator. From there, the world of Town grew and grew, nourished by the rich tradition of the Narrator families. One can think of John Narrator as a Rod Serling-esque character. The main difference is that Narrator interacts with the characters, the events in Town, whereas Serling, in most cases, did not. John Narrator is a student of literature, and therefore often digresses with poetical phrases and bombastic descriptions, all of which add to the charm of the story itself.

DD: Is this a series that we can expect more from in the future?

PC: Certainly. The battle between good and evil continues this summer with an all new, not so-different graphic novel called Origin of Madness. A lot will be revealed in this story, new characters, new events both strange and bizarre will be unveiled as the secrets behind Mad Scientist and the power of X come to light... or I should say, come to the dark, as Mad Scientist, since he's evil, doesn't like the light too much.

DD: So how did you two come together to work on this book?

PC: In our secret civilian lives, we were both sitting around one day talking about heroes and villains. The conversation turned to comics, and the idea of creating a comic together emerged. I threw out the idea of the Wars, Greg latched on to this and with a few hours, had done some of the early character design sketches. From Greg's sketches, the muse of fiction took over and created the world now know as Town. Town is therefore created by a synergistic, inspiring cooperation between artist and writer.

DD: Can we expect more books from you guys in the future?

Most definitely. We will have another graphic novel called The Origin of Madness out in late summer. The Origin of Madness is a collection of seven original stories which detail the creation of Mad Scientist. The stories go beyond a simple origin and also offer complementary events which reveal others secrets in Town, such as how the unknown variable X got its power. One can think of Origins as a spotlight issue as well as many new characters and many new stories from the world of Town are introduced. There are some amazing stories in Origins. Hellish vixens, decaying zombies, and superheroes galore! What else could one ask for? After Origins is released, we hope to continue the bi-monthly Wars series, which will pick up after the events in issue 3, or the Ever Present Sound of Thunder.

DD: Can you talk a bit about your experiences so far with working in comics?

PC: We are entirely independent. Unfortunately, being entirely independent, funding the book on our own, means that it is often a struggle to produce and distribute our books. Sure, there are plenty of resources on the Internet for independent publishers to use, which is a big help. And of course, the Internet itself provides us with a way of advertising our book. But it is nonetheless an uphill battle to get people aware of the Wars. Through it all, though, we solider on. The story is exciting to us, and with a little luck, the Wars will rule the world!

DD: How has it gone doing everything on your own through Indyplanet and LuLu?

PC: Things could go better. The idea behind such sites is great. Sometimes the execution is not so great. With Ka-blam, they produce excellent books but take at least a month to deliver with standard shipping rates. With Lulu, they have fast printing times but the print quality is severely lacking, especially on darker colors. With Indy Planet, their credit card ordering system failed during the sale of issue 2, which made a lot of our fans frustrated as orders failed or were delayed significantly. All of these things have put a damper on things. I wish these companies would fix their respective problems as it would help all of us who use them. Us independent guys need a company who can print fast, print high quality stuff and help us distribute our titles to comic shops and fans. Hopefully some savvy entrepreneurs are reading this and can start just this sort of company.

DD: Any strange or interesting stories from shows you care to share?

Town is a mysterious place. Hardcore readers may find themselves transported into Town. Becoming a part of the vast History of this strange place. So if you're a hardcore fan, don't be surprised if you see yourself in one of the histories of Town. Just ask our headless interviewer.....

DD: Were you guys into any horror titles growing up that lead you to want to create a book like this?

PC: I read Hellboy and The Nocturnals at different stages in my life. I also liked Dark Horse's first Alien series. Too bad 20th Century Fox couldn't have made Alien 3 based on the comic series. Much better than Ripley diving into a pool of volcanic flame. Speaking of film, I also am a fan of horror movies. Not "celebrity horror" movies, which horror movies seems to entrenched in today. But classics like Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Night of the Living Dead, Fright Night and Evil Dead to name a few.

DD: What comics are you currently reading?

Sadly, I am not reading anything at the moment. There probably is amazing stuff out there and I just don't know about it. When I walk into a comic store, all I see are the faces of Marvel and DC. There simply a lack of representation of independent voices at comic stores in general. Which certainly is a reason why very few know about The Vegetable Wars. We're very thankful that the Internet exists, as we can connect with guys like you who help to remind the rest of the world that there are great things beyond the borders of Marvel and DC.

DD: So where can readers find out more about this book?

PC: Our Facebook page is the best place to go for updates. http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Vegetable-Wars/15054873618 Become a Fan and get lots of updates, behind the scenes stuff and bonus material not found anywhere else!

DD: So in summary give me a quick recap on Vegetable Wars and why fans should give it a try.

PC: The Wars is something both familiar and new. It is a story that will hold you, entertain you, thrill you, and even scare the hell out of you. Each single issue is jammed pack with adventure and mayhem. Do not think of a single issue of the Wars like your standard comic. It is so much more. So on the surface, you may see similarities, but once you dive in, you'll find a new world ahead of you. Violent vegetables ready to kill and slaughter the innocent. A mad scientist so aptly named that his name itself, is well, Mad Scientist. There is good. There is evil. And beyond a shadow of a doubt, the world of Town will be torn asunder as this eternal struggle continues to unfold, right before your very eyes. So beware! Beware! And dare yourself to read on, on, into the vast unknown that is the great universe of Town.

DD: Thanks so much for your time guys and cow stomach.

PC: Thank you for you support!

To check out more on Vegetable Wars and what else the guys are up to please go to the Facebook Page or http://www.thevegetablewars.com/

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